Trial begins for exMountie accused of sexually assaulting civilian employee

first_imgVANCOUVER – A retired RCMP inspector sexually assaulted a woman inside a locked washroom at police headquarters in British Columbia, a Crown attorney said at the opening of a provincial court trial on Wednesday.Michelle Booker told the judge hearing the case without a jury that former inspector Tim Shields also sexually harassed the woman at E Division headquarters in Vancouver.“She asked him to stop. The harassment continued,” Booker said of the woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.Booker said the woman, who was a civilian employee, will testify that Shields sexually assaulted her in the fall of 2009 at E Division headquarters in Vancouver.“He did so by kissing her, touching her breasts, exposing himself, touching her hand and placing her hand onto his exposed penis,” she told the court.At the time of the alleged incidents, Shields was in charge of strategic communications and was the public face of the Mounties in the province.He was charged in May 2016 and pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault in July.Shields arrived in court flanked by two lawyers and did not respond to a request for comment.He appeared passive while listening to the proceedings, spending part of the time hunched over writing in a notebook.The Crown called RCMP Sgt. Jeff Wong as the first witness, who described photos he had taken in May 2015 of the Mounties’ former headquarters to assist with an internal investigation.Wong said he was told only that the photos were for a “sensitive situation” involving professional standards. He provided a detailed description of the facility’s washrooms.Retired deputy commissioner Craig Callens said previously the Mounties became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct against Shields in 2013, but an investigation could not proceed because of a lack of evidence. That changed in 2014 after new information came to light, Callens said.Shields was suspended with pay in May of last year and submitted his discharge documents in December, Callens said. The Mounties said at the time his suspension was due to a code-of-conduct investigation.The Crown told the court it expects to call a civilian witness and an RCMP superintendent to testify on Thursday.— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img

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